CBS's Moonves Says Content Deal With Apple TV Is Likely

CBS CEO Moonves: Content Deal With Apple Probable
  • Network also talking with Facebook, Netflix on streaming
  • Timing of any programming agreement still up in the air

CBS Corp.’s discussions with Apple Inc. over TV programming will probably lead to a deal, CBS Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves said.

“Apple is having conversations with everyone about doing their own streaming services,” Moonves said in an interview Wednesday on Bloomberg TV. “We have had those conversations, as have the other networks. Do I think something will happen? Probably, but I do not know when.” 

CBS is having similar discussions with other companies including Facebook Inc. and Netflix Inc. about rights to stream TV shows and live broadcasts over the Internet, Moonves said.

Apple delayed the start of its planned live online TV service until next year after gaining little progress on program licensing discussions with media companies. CBS, with popular shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Criminal Minds” is one of the key elements to a live subscription service that Apple hopes to use to revolutionize TV.

Media stocks including CBS tumbled earlier this year on concern that subscriber fees and advertising sales are at risk as the pay-TV industry loses viewers. More “skinny bundle” subscription alternatives are coming to the market, offering consumers fewer channels at a lower price, and putting pressure on programmers that have relied on traditional cable or satellite packages. Dish Network Corp.’s Sling TV offers a bundle for $20 a month and Verizon Communications Inc.’s FiOS Custom has packages starting at $55 that exclude large groups of channels including sports.

The skinny bundle has added uncertainty in the market, Moonves said. Traditional cable had already been under pressure from video-streaming services like Hulu and Amazon.com’s Prime. Moonves said CBS shows are popular and will fare well as new distribution models evolve.